Bipolar and Back in the Saddle

My dad, the best cowboy I ever met.

In no uncertain terms my dad used to tell me to get my butt back up and do it again! It didn’t matter if it was a horse I’d fallen off of, which happened more than I’d have prefered, or if it was a friend I felt treated me wrongly. Do it again. Don’t stop.

I’m so exhausted. I’ve done so much thinking and writing notes and making Google docs from my iPad in the middle of night… I think you get the idea. The engine starts to turn over but it just never does.

Pressured speech – Bipolar, yeah, I do that.

Know what scares me more though? What keeps me tied so very tight under that horse I’m not going to fall off with chains, in the mountains, in the cold. What scares me more?

Racing thoughts paralize me.

I’ve been trying to slow my mind. Meditation. Exhaustion. Yelling. Denial. I don’t know. My attempts to do this have been weird.

My dad, the cowboy, is gone from this world. I can’t hold his hand or ask him if he thinks something is dumb. I miss the smell of … whatever the newest hobby he was into smelled like. Woodturning for example. Loads of smelling to be had. Fishing, drag racing, raising and training horses, woodturning (did I say that already?), stained glass. Smells. A dad smell.

I wonder sometimes if he looked at life in a way that I need to emulate. Look, he got mad, sure. He threw things, yelled, swore, threw more things, swore some more, made really horribly scary angry faces at us… But he developed time alone and away from everyone when he did these hobbies. I think going out in the RV and making stained glass were the only things he shared with my mom. Oh sure, we all rode horses and shoveled… you know. But I wonder if he could reset during those times.

Did he have racing thoughts too?

He once told me “You’re smart and you think faster than other people do. You’ll be done thinking about things before they start. You’re just going to have to deal with it.” (This is totally true, he said this. Okay, something like it.)

I mention this because I wonder if he saw this particular difficulty in me at that young age? I did show signs of Bipolar at a young age and, I admit, I was a shit to live with, but did he know? I don’t know how my mom didn’t send my dad leave me in the mountains somewhere.

I just never can slow my mind down. Unless… unless it doesn’t work at all. Chained, under the damn horse, in the mountains.

I took a video workshop on ADHD earlier this year. 10 weeks: 3 days in group for an hour and some time with an accountability group the other days. I learned a lot about – I learned that I don’t understand time. If I’ve mentioned this before, please hang in there. I’m just about done.

I am trying to build an editorial calendar where I can put ideas and things I feel strongly about. I can set them in boxes, and then I can move on. And when I’m stuck, silent and chained, I can see the boxes and what I’ve placed in some of them, and I feel hope. I force myself to put something, anything in at least one, little, short, 15 minute box – no – five minute box. Let’s settle with one minute. Then I can be done. I can do that. One minute at a time.

Tonight I’m in a brain fog. It feels like today has just slid on and on. Well, now I’m going to put on my cowboy hat and sit down. I’m gonna push back my cowboy daddy’s recliner (which I insisted on having I have despite the fact that, well, you’ll hear that in a second) I’m going to have to give it an extra shove and scoot my butt all the way back – and then I’m gonna swear. I’m gonna swear because the remote or my iPad or my book or my coffee or the kitten or whatever is way too far for me to reach.

I’m 5′ 3″ on a stool. When my butt scoots back in the seat my feet fly up off the ground and it seems I always wiggle them around like a very young kid. It never fails to amuse me that this was my dad’s chair. When I’m leaning back and can’t reach anything, and no one is around for me to ask nicely or hollar at or beg to get whatever I’m reaching at for me, I claw my way to the right side of the chair and start swing my arm around. I can’t feel anything so I keep at it. I can see myself in my mind’s eye and I know why the kids don’t help me – it is too damn funny to make me suffer! Little legs wagging up and down, swearing and muttering. Yeah, that’s funny, when it’s me.

My dad was a cowboy. What have I learned from him? Well, I have my eyes closed right now and I’m listening to the wind roll over all the plants and trees and bushes and in my front door and the open windows
(it is always windy here)…. and now I hear the bass of the moron driving up the hill in front of the house… and now I hear the wind.

Breathe. In 5 hold – count to 6 – exhale for 8. Do it again Robin. Do it again. Hear the wind. The wind here is the same as it is in the mountains or on the ranch? Daddy, he was the same wherever he was too. Oh we believe he had Bipolar 1 like I do, but I think he found better ways to manage it than I do.

When I feel I’m stuck under the horse I also feel broken. I feel like I can never be mended or fixed… or useful. Never mind that. First thing is first. Racing thoughts or frozen ones. Ouch. I think… I think that I’ve decided I’m not broken.

I believe that belief is everything. Yes, I acknowledge that I have an illness. Or do I? That’s a whole other train of thought so lets run quickly away from that. I have decided. Here and now. Maybe not tomorrow or tomorrow night. But today, now, I don’t believe I’m broken and can’t be fixed. I’m just stunned.

Stunned.

Fall off. Stunned. Get back on and go again.

I don’t want to be trapped in my own head. Time. Use the calendar Robin. It’s a better idea than you think. Stop being subborn. You’re not a jackass. Do it. It will make the chains loose.

When the sun sets it all ends with me. Counselors are left in their offices. Partners are in their own heads. Hopefully. Kids are in bed? I’m left with me. I take the drugs. I go to therapy. I try to act normal. But I am stunned.

I’m going to fill in one box before I go to my room to hopefully sleep for the night.

I’m closing my eyes and listening for the wind. If you’re indoors and can’t actually hear it, then make believe that you do. Remember, believe is everything. Hear the wind. Let it take you away.

“Daddy? It feels like I’ve been stunned for a very long while. I feel… and I think… that it’s time to be a cowboy.

Saddle up

Please, as always, leave a comment if you are so inclined.

Do They Come from Within?

Friends - Thinking Time?

Siberia, the Cat, is doing all the thinking in this friendship. Course, Bailey was a youg thing back then. Siberia has gone to live with the stars.

I read something in a description of an online course last night that I found both intriguing and disturbing.

“Emotions are something that happens TO us and, therefore, they’re outside of our control.”

Can this be true? I currently understand that Bipolar Disorder is a Mood Disorder and is thought to be caused by something going bonkers in my brain chemistry. And for those of you familiar with Agatha Christie I will say that it is thought that my little gray cells have gone bonkers. Okay, just the “little gray cells” is from Christie, but it’s still awesome.

I’ve been actively discussing my illness with myself since I was initially diagnosed with it in…. ah… before 1992. No, after. I’ll have to look it up. Anyway, it doesn’t matter because I’ve been dealing with myself and all my symptoms since my early teens. (I’ve acknowledged to my dear mom that I understand now what a handful I was and that it was most likely me imagining that I had a rotten life and when my life wasn’t actually rotten. My dad probably had Bipolar Disorder too, that made for frequent fireworks.

Wow. That was that too much? Let’s see if I can make it better –

I grew up in an affluent tourist town nestled in a beautiful harbor in Puget Sound, WA. I didn’t have bling, a rock star car, or cloths to die for. Instead, I had a horse, dogs, cats, acreage, forest, forts, climbing on haystacks, and cops and robbers.

When I was at the age when I should know right from wrong I started misbehaving. Like, misbehaving on purpose. That is, I couldn’t seem to help myself. Much of the time I felt that I was the only right one and that everyone else was wrong. I was always angry, so angry.

My father misbehaved.  Mom suffered in silence. As I’ve said, my symptoms began early and grew worse and worse as the years went on. Is it real? Or is it Memorex? (You’ll just have to Google it.)  {Oh man. I’ll keep working on my pressured writing. These things… they tend to stay around. Do you agree?}

So… maybe that didn’t help. All I’m trying to say is that my pressured speech spills over into my writing and I tend to go on and on and on…. (sorry!) and that some people believe that my emotions are caused by something outside of my body. It happens TO me, not from within me.

Is something being done TO me? This idea is very troubling. Okay, no. It is down-right frightening and deserves to be thought on some more.

You may have noticed that I tend to question everything. I spent about 25 years chasing god just to see if he existed. I didn’t want to spend my life in service to a god that didn’t exist. This was my greatest attempt, at that age and with no knowledge of what was going on, to try to help myself. It didn’t work. Knowledge failed. Prayer failed. Was it I who failed? Exorcism failed.

I admit that there is definitely something wrong with my brain. (Grrrr…. I want to argue about that last sentence – maybe another time.) My moods or my emotions or whatever, whack my thinking around until I make very bad and sometimes dangerous choices. My thinking seems to meander and become clouded. Or, the coals get stirred, and mania sets up house and lights it on fire. Then I’m all ripped me up and anything I do or say will probably smear ash on others.

I’ve been thinking for too long what my next post would be – this wasn’t it. This is the result of what I’ve read and thought about just yesterday and today. I hold these ideas, these issues, in a very important place in my mind and in my life. Beginning to understand some of these things may help me, and I hope you might find help.

I want to learn more clearly what’s really going on with/in us and what WE can do about it. Is there any hope that we will ever feel – normal? Actually, I like to think that “normal” is my being able to be at peace all the time. I believe that there must be a way for us to know peace and even, control ourselves – if we want to.

I plan to toss these ideas around in my next post, but you know how it is – can’t keep my attention from zipping down the crazy rabbit hole every 27 seconds. <wink>

Bipolar Disorder + ADHD = One hell of a busy brain!

ROBIN, slow DOWN!

Don’t tell me what to do!

See ya next time and thanks for staying for a while. Forward me to your friends if you are so inclined or maybe you could sprinkle unicorn sprinkles around. Maybe they can fix something.

Bipolar and Panic?

Hi, hullo and greetings to y’all!

Wow. Here I am again. I mean “wow” because that’s how things tend to be. I struggled so hard last year to keep my brain together and spending time angry, confused, abandoned and really isolated that it never occurred to me that I was… acting normal.

Yeah, Kind of odd. I know that.

I have an objective, errr… an intent I suppose, to tell you what’s been going on in my head and my life just briefly before I fall asleep. At least that’s the plan. The sleep part is for sure the plan.

I just finished a challenging and possibly lifechanging 10 week webinar course that taught us about how coming together like that in the small group setting to learn about each other and about the particulars of our experiences, what we hoped to learn from the course, and more. I acknowledged that I have ADHD. It was easy to finally feel like I wasn’t a fraud because you know what? Every single other person there has it too.

I feel liberated from those few people who felt that just because I was told that I had these extra letters following close behind the other letters following me, didn’t mean I was trying to be lazy or milk the system. OMG! Milk the system. For what? My monthly stipend of less than $800 a month.

<Do you see how random I’m being? No? I am trying very hard to sound like I’m at least trying to make sense.>

Two things for tonight:

  1. ADHD is a serious learning disability that have a potentially devastating impact on myself and those around me. Worse yet…
  2. Bipolar Type 1 is the name of my little world that has no bounds. I’ve come up against the idea that there is no research or course of treatment suggested when the client has both Bipolar Type 1 and ADHD together.
  3. Sorry, there is a third one after all. If no one knows how to treat both diseases in the same person’s head at the same time… Yeah, I don’t want to go there just now.
  4. Geeze. I’ve been hysterically everyday so far this week. I’m just sure that if anyone were to look into my ears you’d see my brain turning to liquid!

{Remind me to tell you about the breakthrough I had with my bonkers Med Provider and about hysteria just underneath the skin the next time we talk.}

Knowing what I do about Bipolar, and now what I’ve learned about ADHD I think I’m justified in saying that… I’m screwed. <Wait! That should have been in caps… sec.> I’M SCREWED!

Treatment for one can make the other worse and so forth and so on till well after the serpent has eaten its own tail.

It isn’t as though I want to be unemployable. It just happens that this is my reality in the here and now. My shouting at walls to make them move over … now, that sounds silly even to me.

Please pardon me. I’ve been sleeping an hour or so a night then I will eventually fall doing something like sitting straight up or using my laptop or talking. So, then I crash and sleep for two whole days. Why is this such a problem if I’m on disability? That’s way too loaded of a question to talk about while I’m falling asleep. But it will be part of my next visit with you… very soon.

I’ll be posting a link to Eric’s podcast and his webinar soon incase you’re interested. The cool thing was that I found a whole ton of stuff that I could apply from one illness to the other.

Sleep well my friends. Sleep well.

 

Robin

 

Less Stress is Best – For Everyone

In my last post, I shared a laundry list of things I felt were related to times of extended and elevated stress. As a person who has Bipolar 1, I’m acutely sensitive to stress in my environment, my social life, my home life… Well, you get the idea… in my head. You might say, “Robin, everyone experiences stress and might have cause junk to happen to them.” Fair enough.

I can only speak to my own experiences and circumstances as I interpret them. And it isn’t just that. I have to notice them too. Sometimes I get so preoccupied with something that I just don’t see what’s right in front of me.

Let me give you a quick example. I have battled IBS-d since I was married way back in 1989. Of course, it wasn’t a “thing” then. In fact, I never mentioned it to my doctor. There wasn’t a commercial on TV alerting me to the notion that I might have this thing, this real thing, called IBS-d.

Bipolar Disorder is supposed to be a “mood disorder.” Taking that at face value, let’s assume that stress is going to make managing my symptoms (the rolly-polly moods) incredibly more difficult. Let’s also assume that the stress and resulting crushing weight of experiencing increasingly intense stress (wow, too many words!).

Listen, in my experience as a person with Bipolar 1, ADHD and PTSD I can tell you with certainty (you know, because I experienced it and that makes it true) that stress caused me to have IBS-d. How do I know that and didn’t I notice myself making fun of myself just one sentence ago? Sure, I noticed. We’re talking about subjective emotions though. Think of it like that pain chart they use in the ER at any hospital in the US. “Rate your pain. Which smiley face??”

Seriously? You’re going to treat me based upon what I think my smiley face ought to be?

How are you feeling today Robin?
“My anxiety feels like it’s crushing me. I can’t sleep or think. I’ve started waking up violently angry. I’ve started yelling again and throwing things. I just can’t get it all to stop!”
Have you been able to focus?

Excuse me?

I graduated in June of last year (2018) and within two months of that time, my “IBS-d” disappeared. Creepy right? I know! Like aliens…

Alien, nigthmare, spirit...
Creepy… I think that guy might have had some comet!

Seriously though, haven’t had a blackout or eaten Comet since then. Well, I think there was one more blackout… but my memory can be sketchy at times so yes? No? Beats me.

We’re talking about emotions.

Emotions are NOT measured by drug tests.
Emotions cannot be quantified by subjective human talk therapy.
I can’t even relate to you my emotions so that you’ll understand what I mean.
In every single college class I’ve been in when the professor asks for opinions or invites discussion, no one ever agrees with everyone (sometimes anyone) across the board. Nope. Nadda.

Does this seem like a jumble? Am I talking about IBS-d or how to describe emotions? Actually, what am I talking about? Have I lost focus?

No, I haven’t. Not this time.

I no longer have any symptoms of IBS-d.

Is everything else better? Oh hell no! But, I’ll take this victory and I’ll hold onto it because I’m not locked in my house 24/7 every day anymore.

At least… not right now.

Bipolar – Verbal Dump

megaphone

I have Bipolar Disorder and ADHD. I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder over twenty years ago. At least, that’s about when my brain says it remembers it happening – I’m super reliable when it comes to the passing of time. Umm, no way! Don’t let me tell you otherwise. I was diagnosed as having ADHD only a few years ago.

The other day my mom told me she’d had a major breakthrough in her thinking about ADHD. Apparently, she’d talked to her realtor and she had told him that I have it. I know she shares stuff about my brain (problems) to people in the town/city we live in and with Rhett (the fellow I just mentioned who sells property) who lives in another one.

That’s two.

Back to the breakdown.

I know my mom loves me. She expresses it in a sort of micro-managing way, but she loves me nonetheless.

I’d hate to have had a child like me. How did she not accidentally roll over me in the family car? I would have had a daycare person come take me away. A nanny. Anyway, Rhett told her that he has ADHD too. {Deep sigh coming from my side of the conversation.}

You know how we can look up literally ANYTHING online? I really don’t think she understands that she can Google Bipolar Disorder and ADHD and not have to rely upon the information she can glean from a single person. There are many fantastic sites to visit that contains a lot of very good information on both BD and ADHD.

But, you know what, the idea that she can talk to someone about me, without asking me first, and telling him my very personal business is just bad.

My mom thinks of Rhett as another son. (I have a brother.) She knows more about him than she does about me. Sometimes I discover I have feelings of resentment and anger toward the nice guy. I don’t like feeling that way.

I guess accepting and understanding something about Bipolar Disorder have to continue to wait.

I believe, that if she understood a little about Bipolar Disorder and how I present, we would get along better. We might even want to spend more time together. Maybe she’d trust me more. Forgive me more. I admit, there is much I want to be forgiven for. I think she’s better at letting things go than I am so maybe she doesn’t need to be able to forgive me once she understands I don’t really control myself sometimes.

My experience with Bipolar Disorder is that about 80% of the time I’m manic. All the time I’ve been alive, I’ve been either straight up manic, or in a mixed state featuring the bits that tend to “intensify” my emotions. I’m confused, being depressed while manic.

My most blatantly obvious symptom… I never, ever stop talking. When the rare moment does happen, my friends ask me if I’m okay. I think that even Bailey notices. (Bailey is my support dog. She’s wonderful.)

Bailey is my emergency brake. When I’m frustrated, angry or yelling, she finds me and sits directly facing me, very close, toes to paws, and with her beautiful sad brown eyes and waits for the noise to stop. Honestly, she won’t budge even if I tell her I need to pee. No mercy from my faithful pup.

My chart at the mental health place I go to says that I say I think I’m smarter than they are. My current counselor asked me if I really believe that. Without a pause, I said, “YES.” I reminded him of how they let my stress / anger / mania / and anxiety cause all the suffering I experienced while I was going to school. over the last year, my symptoms intensified, and I broke.

Have you heard the axiom do no harm or through inaction to cause harm?

So, the reality is that they watched and did not intervene. They listened and didn’t reach out to catch me while I fell and fell farther and farther down. If you think about it like that, like what role they played in my unwilling self-destruction, then YES, I think they’re morons and I really am so much smarter than they are. My counselor asked me if I thought I was smarter than he was. I grinned and told him, “that remains to be seen.”

Delusional? Grandiose thoughts? Delusions of grandeur? Or brilliant or very smart? And who’s to judge which is which?

ADHD, Bipolar… Let’s figure it out. I promise I’ll own it.

You have just been exposed to an often irritating and yet integral bit of my brain in all its glory. It’s what I call, “a verbal dump.” My kids prefer saying I barf words. Wait, maybe it was that I vomit words. Well, in any case, it’s not great.

Please write to me or leave a comment. I love hearing from you.

Be well,

Robin / Un-niche-able Me